4 Comments

  1. Thank you, Aidan, for some more highly interesting insights into modern art. Your thesis that modern art lost its way when it stopped seeking spiritual truths is most intriguing. I have always perceived such a decline when a looking at post 1940s modern art, but I had never heard an explanation for it.

  2. Kandinsky, Brancusi and Mondrian were all deeply influenced by Blavatsky and Theosophy. Although I also sympathize with the spiritual search found in these works, I think what brought about the crux of the modern art crisis is summed up very well in Fr. Silouan’s article https://orthodoxartsjournal.org/on-the-relative-autonomy-of-the-icon-converging-aesthetics-in-early-modernism/ In his article he shows very well the limits of early modernism.

    The difficulty is that much of the spirituality of these early artists was formulated in revolutionary terms, that is it was seen as a form of liberation from the constraints of the physical world. Because of this, and because of the theosophist bent, the “dis-incarnate” aspect of their work appears not only in a moving away from the human person as the center of spiritual encounter, but it can also be seen in the very “individual” language each of these artists developed. They were not grounded in an “ecclesia” seen even in the broadest terms. So to respond to Andrew, I believe that extremes cause each other, and it was not surprising that the “spiritualist” approach of early modern abstraction would “flip” into the very “materialist” approach of later modernism.

  3. Adam Carney

    Bravo! As the son of an artist and as an artist myself this article speaks directly to me. We must always remind our brothers and sisters of the transformative power of art.

  4. […] Icons and Modern Art. […]

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